Over $1.3 billion has been funneled abroad to China and Russia through ‘pointless projects’ over the last five years according to a compilation of taxpayer-funded grants uncovered by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.
Nonprofit transparency group Open the Books worked with Ernst to put together a new analysis of data from USAspending.gov, which found that between 2017-2022, U.S.-funded grants and contracts amounting to $490 million were paid to Chinese organizations and another $870 million was sent to entities in Russia.
According to Ernst’s analysis, the U.S. handed out millions in strange ‘pet projects’ to its biggest adversaries.
The study found the State Department handed nearly $58.7 million to China, and used nearly $100,000 of that sum to promote ‘gender equality’ awareness through a series of New Yorker magazine cartoons.
In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services shelled out over $770,00 to a state-run lab in Russia to put ‘cats on treadmills.’
‘When I followed the trail, it is gravely concerning that the final destination of more than $1.3 billion U.S. tax dollars was pointless projects in China and Russia,’ Ernst told DailyMail.com
Other previously unexposed grants included $51.6 million from the Department of Defense to China, which specifically allotted $6 million for tech support of the military’s ‘deployment and distribution command’ software.
Ernst, the first female combat veteran to serve in the Senate, flagged it should be especially concerning to Americans because the DOD inspector general has warned the Pentagon about using Chinese IT companies on government projects.
Other pockets of money went to Russia for alcohol and addiction research and to a health insurance company that was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2022 after the country’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Republican.
Ernst also flagged the already-known millions given to China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology through NIH grants to EcoHealth Alliance, which she says used the U.S. taxpayer dollars to conduct ‘dangerous experiments’ on bat coronaviruses.
‘When I followed the trail, it is gravely concerning that the final destination of more than $1.3 billion U.S. tax dollars was pointless projects in China and Russia,’ Ernst told DailyMail.com in a statement.
‘I’ve tracked down the money, so Americans can know exactly where their hard-earned dollars are going, and we can put an end to this egregious spending.’
As a result of the findings, lawmakers are looking into ways to ensure greater accountability in the future.
Ernst, along with Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who is the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, introduced a new bill Wednesday to ensure greater transparency on payments to China and Russia in the future.
Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party
‘This is crazy, but to make matters worse, this may only be the tip of the iceberg,’ said Gallagher
The ‘Tracking Receipts to Adversarial Countries for Knowledge of Spending (TRACKS) Act’ would require government agencies to publicly disclose any grant they give to America’s greatest adversaries.
‘Thanks to Senator Ernst’s work, we know the federal government has wasted more than one billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars on our adversaries. This is crazy, but to make matters worse, this may only be the tip of the iceberg,’ said Gallagher.
‘The TRACKS Act brings badly needed transparency to how we spend federal dollars and will help us take steps to hold the government accountable and prevent taxpayers from supporting our adversaries.’
A GOP aide noted that the $1.3 billion figure is not all of the money that went to China and Russia over the 2017-2022 time frame.
The new legislation would ensure that other amounts are now captured and included in public reporting forums, including money sent to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the aide added.